National Geographic : 1947 Mar
© Lennart Nilsson from Black Slar Smiles and Nearly Empty Pot Prove the Fishermen's Liking for Cod-liver Soup BUT landlubber Norwegians, great fish eaters. find the soup too strong. Though sight and smell of fish are everywhere, ships' cooks serve cod in a variety of guises three times a day. Only in port on Sundays do the men taste meat. Goat cheese, dark bread, and oleomargarine bulk large in their diet. Strong coffee brews continually on the ship's stove. It is the fisherman's early-morning eye opener and his constant ally against the fjord's numbing winds. Every trip past the galley calls for another cup. Native Lofoten fishermen are freedom-loving individualists who take the risks and rigors of their trade as they come. Crew members often con- tribute to the cost of boat and tackle, receive proportionate shares of profits. Crews choose their skipper, who takes full charge of boat and fishing operations. Often the boat's nominal owner is a crew member. Nevertheless, the skipper is boss. The Norwegian Government has done much to aid fishermen. It provides low-rate loans, often up to 100 percent, for better equipment and boats; compulsory insurance; free medical aid and hos pitalization. It sets a ceiling on cost of bait and puts a floor under fish prices. The Norwegian Lifesaving Institution, volun tarily manned and supported, maintains a fleet of rescue ships, mostly sail. Its heroic work has saved countless fishermen's lives.